A couple of out of town teams walked away with the championship hardware Saturday morning at Moccasin Bend in the annual PowerAde Invitational cross country meet.
Morristown West claimed the win among 14 boys teams as they placed four runners in the top 10, including overall winner Spencer Frantom.
The Brentwood Academy Lady Eagles didn’t have the overall winner, but they too had four runners in the top 10 as they were victorious among the ladies.
Red Bank’s Claire Turner and Bradley Central’s Jacquelin Pitcock had the best race of the day with Turner claiming first place with a time of 19 minutes, 27 seconds.
Pitcock ran beside her the entire race and was less than a step behind at the finish as she too was credited with a time of 19:27.
Frantom and Jake Rainey of Clarksville Rossview were together for the first mile and they took turns leading the way, but Frantom made a move near the mile two mark and Rainey never challenged again.
Frantom was first in 16:08 while Rainey was the runner-up in 16:28.
While Frantom was the winner, teammates Chris Bishop, Adam Merook and Matt Bishop finished third, fifth and sixth, respectively, while Andrew Dibb was 13th.
Morristown West finished with an outstanding score of 28 while runner-up Father Ryan was a distant second with 108.
Murfreesboro Blackman, Rossview and Brentwood were third, fourth and fifth with 114, 115 and 127 points, respectively.
Sam Wilson, Fallon Dickens, Courtney Bishop and Harris Slinkard all finished in the top 10 to set the pace for Brentwood Academy’s girls.
Wilson was the leader in sixth place overall with a time of 20:25.
The Lady Eagles, coached by former Chattanoogan Cathy Cheeseman, finished with 47 points while Baylor was second with 94 and GPS third with 102.
Murfreesboro Siegel and Brentwood were fourth and fifth, respectively, with 115 and 143.
Frantom, a 16-year-old junior, had a goal of breaking his best time from last year, which was 16:15.
Adding a victory to his effort was just icing on the cake.
“We had a good race today. We kept trading the lead back and forth, but I pushed past him near the two-mile mark and he didn’t push back. I wanted to improve on last year’s PR and I did, so I’m happy.
“I have no regrets. I left everything I had on that course and I won, so that makes it even better,” Frantom said.
Rainey is also a 16-year-old junior. He’s beaten Frantom on occasion in the past, but it didn’t happen on Saturday.
“It was alright, I guess. We took turns leading, but I couldn’t push back when he pushed by me that last time. He regained the lead and I never got close again,” Rainey said.
“My goal was to break 16 again, but it didn’t happen. I’m pleased with my time, but not with my place. He’s really strong and he knew exactly how to race me today. Maybe I shouldn’t have gone out so hard,” Rainey said.
Red Bank’s Turner, Bradley’s Pitcock and Baylor sophomore Virginia Kelley were all together in the first mile, but Kelley had fallen off the pace as the race progressed.
She finished third overall in 20:05.
It took Turner several minutes to catch her breath, but once she cooled off a bit and realized what she had accomplished, she was happy.
“I’m tired right now, but my legs felt good the entire race. We were all right there together for the entire race, but I tried to increase my speed in the final stretch,” Turner said.
“I worked really hard this summer with speedwork and trying to increase my turnover rate. Those 400 repeats in the heat paid off today.
"My goal was to win and get in the low 19s. I got the win and that’s what matters most to me,” she added.
Pitcock also had a goal of winning and getting a time in the low 19s. She too has a strong kick, but it wasn’t strong enough on Saturday.
“I thought I could get her at the end, but I should have started my kick sooner. I’m still happy,” she said.
Bradley coach Larry Cotton was another one who was extremely pleased with the results.
“That was her best time ever and the fastest 5K time for a girl in the history of Bradley cross country. I’m really proud of her.
"She won last week at Macon County and she’s coming along just fine. She’s had some good times in the past, but this is the earliest in the season she’s run this fast,” Cotton added.
Saturday’s competition also included an open 5K race.
UTC’s Chris Berry, who is red-shirting this season, was head and shoulders above everyone else as he won with a time of 15:29.
Michael Green was second in 16:46 while Joseph Goetz was third in 16:51.
Tim Ensign and Hugh Enicks were fourth and fifth, respectively, with times of 17:18 and 18:15.
Jan Gautier was the female overall winner in 20:07, which was 16th overall.
The popular event benefits the UTC track and cross country program. Coach Bill Gautier directs the race and does an outstanding job.
He was reasonable pleased with the results Saturday morning.
“There were a lot of good runners here today. I always enjoy putting this race on because it gives some of the local high school runners a chance to run against some pretty good teams from other parts of the state.
“We had a good mix of runners here today and it’s just a fun atmosphere.
"I can’t say enough about our sponsors from the Front Runner and PowerAde. They really help us out and I appreciate what they do,” Gautier said.
While Baylor and GPS were second and third among the girls, other local teams included Dalton, Bradley, Red Bank, Cleveland, Soddy Daisy and Ringgold.
(Results and team scores will be posted later.)
(Email John Hunt at firstname.lastname@example.org)